Day 9: Wroclaw and “Dwarves”

You’d think it’d be possible to get somewhere near the pronunciation of a word by sounding out its letters. Not the case with Wroclaw. The city name is pronounced something like “fro-swav”. Yeah. Good luck with Polish.

A fountain and homes in the main market square at Wroclaw.

The city itself is pretty cool. There are a lot of beautiful historic buildings. There are also “dwarves” ( or, more appropriately, gnomes ) everywhere.

When you see your first dwarf, you wonder a little bit about what it is and why it’s there …
This guy is in front of one of the university buildings.

Apparently, there are approximately 300 dwarf statues throughout the city in various places.

This guy is sitting in the old jail ( which is now a bar / restaurant ).

It’s really pretty cool how they’re scattered throughout the city. You can buy a map that shows you where each one is, but it’s also fun just to walk around and try to spot them on your own.

In front of a shop

The story behind these dwarves is actually pretty interesting. In the 1980's, while Poland was still under communist rule, the Orange Alternative movement was started in Wroclaw. It’s symbol was the dwarf and its purpose was to provide a method of peaceful protest against communism by using absurd and nonsensical elements in their protests. The result would be that, should authorities arrest the protesters, they would look ridiculous doing so.

Three more dwarves near the town hall.

There are, of course, other amazing parts of the city. Wroclaw is famous for having a brewery in continuous operation for the past 750+ years. It is in the basement level of the town hall.

Entrance to the 750 year old brewery.

There are also a variety of churches and historic buildings.

Wroclaw was part of Germany until 1945. Theses two houses are nicknamed the Hansel and Gretel houses as they are a bit smaller than other homes.
In the past, a criminal would be tied to this post and flogged for all to see. Now, it’s a place people gather to meet up with each other.
A massive brick church

But, really, the dwarves are pretty much the stars of Wroclaw.

A dwarf sleeping on watch. In the background, dwarf firemen rush toward one of the historic churches ( behind the picture ).
These guys are seriously everywhere.

Today was our last day together as a work group. Tomorrow, most of the people from work fly back home or on their own short vacations elsewhere in Europe. Myself, my mother, and my brother will fly to Bergen, Norway. Stay tuned for day 10.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Kenneth Ahlstrom’s story.